Earlier this week coach Brandon Rosenthal gave each of his players on the Lipscomb volleyball team a three-inch piece of a ruler.
Rosenthal and his staff had calculated that three inches was the average difference in height between those players and the ones from California, the Lady Bisons’ first-round opponent in the NCAA tournament.
“When you look at three inches,” he said on Wednesday, “it’s not much.”
It still proved to be a tall order as Lipscomb fell to Cal, the No. 9 national seed, 25-15, 25-22, 25-9 on Friday at Columbus, Ohio.
The defeat meant the end of a 25-match win streak and the season for the Lady Bisons, who finished 28-4 after having gone undefeated in the Atlantic Sun Conference regular season.
Cal (19-10) advanced to the second round of the tournament for the eighth straight year.
“It's just another volleyball game and we are supposed to play the way we played all season,” junior middle blocker Alex Kelly said following the match. “We came here and didn't play the way we have all season long and played a great team that hopefully will do well in this tournament.”
Lipscomb never led in the first or third sets but was in front by as many as three (15-12) in the second. It was tied 18-18 before a block put Cal in front for good.
The Lady Bisons have been to the NCAA tournament twice in three years but have yet to win a set.
“We are happy to be in the tournament but in all reality, for this program's sake and this team's sake, we wanted to go to the next level,” Rosenthal said. “Unfortunately, that did not happen for us (Friday) night but in the future you will see us many, many times again.”